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Potato movement good, but transportation a concern for Red River Valley shippers

Ted Kreis, marketing director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, said “movement is going well.” USDA figures show “for the week ending Dec. 6 that 124,000 hundredweight of Red River Valley potatoes had been shipped. “This is up 18 percent this year over the previous year. And it’s more than 2012 and 2011 too,” Kreis added.

For 2014 as a whole volume is up despite the fact that the crop started two weeks later than in 2013. “We’ve made up the difference in the late start,” he said.2008-9-8-1620-red-harvest-conveyorDespite a later start than 2013, volume is up for Red River Valley potatoes.

The Red River Valley produced somewhat fewer yellow potatoes than last year, but Kreis said these are “insignificant” numbers. Red potato production was up somewhat.

“The quality was much better” in the 2014 crop, he noted. “We had more potatoes and better quality.” In December the stocks on hand were the same volume “but there will be less shrink” in the pack-out.

“We were late planting, which cut into the yields, which were average.” Yields overall in the valley were spotty, with some growers having greater yield and others less than a year ago. “Overall it evened out.”

David Moquist, a potato grower-packer-shipper and secretary-treasurer of Crystal, ND-based O.C. Schulz, is pleased by movement into December.

Paul Dolan, manager of Associated Potato Growers Inc., based in Grand Forks, ND, did not see “a lot of Christmas boost” for his potato crop. He added that Associated’s potatoes “are storing and keeping well. There are no frost issues.”

Dolan noted that Associated’s total potato volume is down from a year ago, but the saleable volume is up because of high packouts due to excellent quality.

Small-sized Russet potatoes produced in Idaho and Washington in 2014 have brought down the market and created competition for Red River Valley red potatoes. “This has hurt prices,” Dolan said. He expected the market will improve in January because Wisconsin shippers will have finished most of their shipping and Florida’s spring growers are not expected to have the volume produced a year ago.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

United Fresh focuses on transportation, import rules at Washington Conference

WASHINGTON — The United Fresh Produce Association met with federal lawmakers recently carrying a short list of must-haves at its Washington Conference, but the three-day meeting also delved into a list of regulations the produce industry is closely scrutinizing.

The Food Safety Modernization Act’s proposed regulation for sanitary transportation includes a provision that could easily render shipments adulterated if records show a variation in temperature controls, Jon Samson of the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference said at a Sept. 9 session, here.

“This could substantially increase cargo claims,” he warned. “We want more flexibility in the rule.”

The Food & Drug Administration’s first federal rule for hauling food underestimates compliance costs and exempts small trucking companies, which could hurt their businesses in the long run, he warned. More than 90 percent of trucking companies operate six trucks or fewer, and refrigerated truck companies are even smaller, he said.

The FDA needs to provide details on a range of issues, including how and who will maintain records, before the rule becomes final by March 2016.

Samson said the American Trucking Association also is working with Congress to suspend some provisions of the hours-of-service changes that were implemented in July 2013. The rule requires a 30-minute break during the first eight-hour shift. But depending on the shifts, carriers could end up having to take two 30-minute rest periods to comply with the rule, and that’s costly, he said.

Legislation that would delay enforcement of the rules for at least a year while a study is undertaken is moving through Congress, Samson said.

Imports have their own issues, and Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association, said changes are needed to ease the flow of trade.

More Customs officials are needed on the U.S. side for the nation’s busiest ports of entry, and a memorandum of understanding that would have the U.S. government recognize Mexico’s food safety and quality inspections would go a long way, Jungmeyer said.

Importers are keeping a close eye on the FDA’s plans to collect importer fees to pay for FSMA, a move that would affect border crossings, he said.

“Each new fee may invite retaliatory measures by foreign governments,” Jungmeyer warned.

Other changes on the produce industry’s plate include the Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service’s proposed user fees for inspection services to prevent pests and diseases and changes to container inspections.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

United Fresh focuses on transportation, import rules at Washington Conference

WASHINGTON — The United Fresh Produce Association met with federal lawmakers recently carrying a short list of must-haves at its Washington Conference, but the three-day meeting also delved into a list of regulations the produce industry is closely scrutinizing.

The Food Safety Modernization Act’s proposed regulation for sanitary transportation includes a provision that could easily render shipments adulterated if records show a variation in temperature controls, Jon Samson of the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference said at a Sept. 9 session, here.

“This could substantially increase cargo claims,” he warned. “We want more flexibility in the rule.”

The Food & Drug Administration’s first federal rule for hauling food underestimates compliance costs and exempts small trucking companies, which could hurt their businesses in the long run, he warned. More than 90 percent of trucking companies operate six trucks or fewer, and refrigerated truck companies are even smaller, he said.

The FDA needs to provide details on a range of issues, including how and who will maintain records, before the rule becomes final by March 2016.

Samson said the American Trucking Association also is working with Congress to suspend some provisions of the hours-of-service changes that were implemented in July 2013. The rule requires a 30-minute break during the first eight-hour shift. But depending on the shifts, carriers could end up having to take two 30-minute rest periods to comply with the rule, and that’s costly, he said.

Legislation that would delay enforcement of the rules for at least a year while a study is undertaken is moving through Congress, Samson said.

Imports have their own issues, and Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association, said changes are needed to ease the flow of trade.

More Customs officials are needed on the U.S. side for the nation’s busiest ports of entry, and a memorandum of understanding that would have the U.S. government recognize Mexico’s food safety and quality inspections would go a long way, Jungmeyer said.

Importers are keeping a close eye on the FDA’s plans to collect importer fees to pay for FSMA, a move that would affect border crossings, he said.

“Each new fee may invite retaliatory measures by foreign governments,” Jungmeyer warned.

Other changes on the produce industry’s plate include the Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service’s proposed user fees for inspection services to prevent pests and diseases and changes to container inspections.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

United Fresh focuses on transportation, import rules at Washington Conference

WASHINGTON — The United Fresh Produce Association met with federal lawmakers recently carrying a short list of must-haves at its Washington Conference, but the three-day meeting also delved into a list of regulations the produce industry is closely scrutinizing.

The Food Safety Modernization Act’s proposed regulation for sanitary transportation includes a provision that could easily render shipments adulterated if records show a variation in temperature controls, Jon Samson of the Agricultural & Food Transporters Conference said at a Sept. 9 session, here.

“This could substantially increase cargo claims,” he warned. “We want more flexibility in the rule.”

The Food & Drug Administration’s first federal rule for hauling food underestimates compliance costs and exempts small trucking companies, which could hurt their businesses in the long run, he warned. More than 90 percent of trucking companies operate six trucks or fewer, and refrigerated truck companies are even smaller, he said.

The FDA needs to provide details on a range of issues, including how and who will maintain records, before the rule becomes final by March 2016.

Samson said the American Trucking Association also is working with Congress to suspend some provisions of the hours-of-service changes that were implemented in July 2013. The rule requires a 30-minute break during the first eight-hour shift. But depending on the shifts, carriers could end up having to take two 30-minute rest periods to comply with the rule, and that’s costly, he said.

Legislation that would delay enforcement of the rules for at least a year while a study is undertaken is moving through Congress, Samson said.

Imports have their own issues, and Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association, said changes are needed to ease the flow of trade.

More Customs officials are needed on the U.S. side for the nation’s busiest ports of entry, and a memorandum of understanding that would have the U.S. government recognize Mexico’s food safety and quality inspections would go a long way, Jungmeyer said.

Importers are keeping a close eye on the FDA’s plans to collect importer fees to pay for FSMA, a move that would affect border crossings, he said.

“Each new fee may invite retaliatory measures by foreign governments,” Jungmeyer warned.

Other changes on the produce industry’s plate include the Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service’s proposed user fees for inspection services to prevent pests and diseases and changes to container inspections.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Industry professionals working diligently on ways to ease the high and increasing cost of transportation

Increasing costs of production are affecting the entire produce industry today, but one issue that is causing a huge upset that may intensify tremendously is the cost and tenuousness supplies of fuel and trucking regulations that have most growers, shippers and even end users on the nervous edge of their seats.

There are several issues currently at hand that are contributing to the problem. The war in Iraq has already had a major effect on the cost of fuel in the U.S., and it stands to become much worse as the conflict there intensifies.Jim-DiMennaJim DiMenna

According to the Energy Information Administration, Iraq is the third-largest exporter of oil in the world and has the fifth-largest crude reserves.

A story BY Bruce Kennedy on CBS Money Watch [www.cbsnews.com/news/as-iraq-fighting-rages-gas-prices-climb] on June 14 stated that the hike in gas costs follows the battlefield successes of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS], an al Qaeda breakaway group backed by Sunni fighters and other groups in northern Iraq.

The article further stated that the cost of crude rose Friday [June 13] afternoon to nearly $ 107, a 10-month high, amid fears that the mounting insurgency there could lead to major disruptions of oil shipments.

Brent crude futures, an international benchmark, climbed 54 cents to $ 112.96. And prices at the gas pumps have risen for four weeks in a row, with no relief in sight.

There are, however, proposed changes to Federal laws that may allow triple tractor-trailer trucks, longer doubles and longer, heavier single trucks on the Nation’s Federal highways.

This action has its obvious strong opponents who fear increased fatal highway accidents and damage to roads and bridges.

Supporters say the measures would increase productivity, reduce truck traffic, and actually make roads safer. Opponents, however, say they would increase fatal crashes and damage roads and bridges

A May 4 press release from the Coalition for Transportation Productivity stated that there is substantial evidence that improving trucking industry productivity through carefully constructed higher vehicle weight limits on federal highways will save lives by making highways safer and less congested.

The release also stated that the Coalition is asking Congress to address this issue now before America’s highways become even more congested.

Like most new legislations, the final decisions on these issues may take years and therefore can’t offer relief for what producer-shippers are facing today.

Jim DiMenna, president of JemD Farms, headquartered in Kingsville, ON, told The Produce News that transportation and logistics is a constantly growing factor affecting greenhouse growers and shippers.

“We are doing everything possible to coordinate orders with trucks to make sure we fill them to the maximum so that the cost per case is reduced or at least maintained,” said DiMenna. “Part loads are getting more and more costly, and so we are continually focusing strongly on working with our retail partners to make sure that we keep costs down as low as possible. Consolidation is absolutely key.”

Together with its business partners and friends, DiMenna met at the United Fresh expo and plans to again at the PMA Foodservice show and all other venues where opportunities allow, to continue to work on ways to ease the high and rising cost of shipping greenhouse and even field produce so that everyone along the chain can benefit.

“To ship a partial load of produce increases the cost per box by five times,” said DiMenna. “But we know that many clients cannot take full loads. As a group we are working toward strategic partnering–particularly in the produce sector because of the cold chain requirements-to ship full loads that can be broken down at a delivery point that is convenient to all receivers involved.”

DiMenna added that the group sees great opportunities to develop strong relationships even among competing companies because everyone understands the potential advantages.

“If I’m shipping a load of 15 pallets, and another company has an order for an additional 15 pallets there are two trucks on the road,” he said. “If we combine those pallets-even if the receivers are different companies-the savings can be tremendous and trickle all the way to the consumer. Our goal is to be able to a create system that monitors availability, shipment history, tracking and clients’ orders, including their demands as to what carriers we use, we can create a system that can help to offset the high and rising costs of transporting fresh produce. This is a reachable goal, and one that we are striving to accomplish in as short a time period as possible.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Industry professionals working diligently on ways to ease the high and increasing cost of transportation

Increasing costs of production are affecting the entire produce industry today, but one issue that is causing a huge upset that may intensify tremendously is the cost and tenuousness supplies of fuel and trucking regulations that have most growers, shippers and even end users on the nervous edge of their seats.

There are several issues currently at hand that are contributing to the problem. The war in Iraq has already had a major effect on the cost of fuel in the U.S., and it stands to become much worse as the conflict there intensifies.Jim-DiMennaJim DiMenna

According to the Energy Information Administration, Iraq is the third-largest exporter of oil in the world and has the fifth-largest crude reserves.

A story BY Bruce Kennedy on CBS Money Watch [www.cbsnews.com/news/as-iraq-fighting-rages-gas-prices-climb] on June 14 stated that the hike in gas costs follows the battlefield successes of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS], an al Qaeda breakaway group backed by Sunni fighters and other groups in northern Iraq.

The article further stated that the cost of crude rose Friday [June 13] afternoon to nearly $ 107, a 10-month high, amid fears that the mounting insurgency there could lead to major disruptions of oil shipments.

Brent crude futures, an international benchmark, climbed 54 cents to $ 112.96. And prices at the gas pumps have risen for four weeks in a row, with no relief in sight.

There are, however, proposed changes to Federal laws that may allow triple tractor-trailer trucks, longer doubles and longer, heavier single trucks on the Nation’s Federal highways.

This action has its obvious strong opponents who fear increased fatal highway accidents and damage to roads and bridges.

Supporters say the measures would increase productivity, reduce truck traffic, and actually make roads safer. Opponents, however, say they would increase fatal crashes and damage roads and bridges

A May 4 press release from the Coalition for Transportation Productivity stated that there is substantial evidence that improving trucking industry productivity through carefully constructed higher vehicle weight limits on federal highways will save lives by making highways safer and less congested.

The release also stated that the Coalition is asking Congress to address this issue now before America’s highways become even more congested.

Like most new legislations, the final decisions on these issues may take years and therefore can’t offer relief for what producer-shippers are facing today.

Jim DiMenna, president of JemD Farms, headquartered in Kingsville, ON, told The Produce News that transportation and logistics is a constantly growing factor affecting greenhouse growers and shippers.

“We are doing everything possible to coordinate orders with trucks to make sure we fill them to the maximum so that the cost per case is reduced or at least maintained,” said DiMenna. “Part loads are getting more and more costly, and so we are continually focusing strongly on working with our retail partners to make sure that we keep costs down as low as possible. Consolidation is absolutely key.”

Together with its business partners and friends, DiMenna met at the United Fresh expo and plans to again at the PMA Foodservice show and all other venues where opportunities allow, to continue to work on ways to ease the high and rising cost of shipping greenhouse and even field produce so that everyone along the chain can benefit.

“To ship a partial load of produce increases the cost per box by five times,” said DiMenna. “But we know that many clients cannot take full loads. As a group we are working toward strategic partnering–particularly in the produce sector because of the cold chain requirements-to ship full loads that can be broken down at a delivery point that is convenient to all receivers involved.”

DiMenna added that the group sees great opportunities to develop strong relationships even among competing companies because everyone understands the potential advantages.

“If I’m shipping a load of 15 pallets, and another company has an order for an additional 15 pallets there are two trucks on the road,” he said. “If we combine those pallets-even if the receivers are different companies-the savings can be tremendous and trickle all the way to the consumer. Our goal is to be able to a create system that monitors availability, shipment history, tracking and clients’ orders, including their demands as to what carriers we use, we can create a system that can help to offset the high and rising costs of transporting fresh produce. This is a reachable goal, and one that we are striving to accomplish in as short a time period as possible.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

FSMA Sanitary Transportation Rule Comment Period Extended

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will be extending the comment period on the sanitary transportation rule issued under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The comment period was originally set to end May 31, but the deadline has been extended to June 30 in response to requests for additional time.

The rule is the seventh and final major rule of FSMA. It was proposed at the end of January and will require shippers, receivers and carriers who transport food by motor or rail vehicles to take steps to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transportation.

FDA has already held three public meetings on the rule. At the meeting in College Park, MD, the issue of whether the rule’s exemption for live animals extends to shellfish was brought to the agency’s attention.

The final rule is required to be released by March 31, 2016.

Food Safety News

FDA announces proposed food transportation rule

FDA’s latest Food Safety Modernization Act rule, on the sanitary transportation of food and animal food by motor or rail vehicle, is now open for public comment.

The rule details requirements such as ensuring proper refrigeration and providing records of what was shipped and how it was stored.

Shippers, carriers, and receivers with more than $ 500,000 in annual sales who transport food for consumption within the United States would be subject to the rule. The rule does not cover shelf-stable packaged foods, live animals or raw agricultural commodities transported by farms.

“This proposed rule will help reduce the likelihood of conditions during transportation that can lead to human or animal illness or injury,” Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a press release. “We are now one step closer to fully implementing the comprehensive regulatory framework for prevention that will strengthen the FDA’s inspection and compliance tools, modernize oversight of the nation’s food safety system, and prevent foodborne illnesses before they happen.”

FDA also extended the comment deadline for the proposed animal food safety rule from Feb. 26 to March 31.

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Stable transportation rates predicted through spring

The typical heavy Christmas pull for fruits and vegetables combined with the weather issues and reluctance of some drivers to hit the road over the holidays caused freight rates to spike a bit through December. And while there was some lingering effect with $ 7,000 cross country rates still being quoted in early January, industry experts were expecting adequate supplies and a small drop in rates during the late winter/early spring period.

“There were some $ 7,000 raters, or slightly under, into New York this week,” said Lance Dichter, general manager of LD Logistics LLC, in Bronx, NY, on Tuesday, Jan. 14. “But I expect them to take a dip over the next few days and remain fairly steady through February and March.”

He said with the higher volume from the West Coast as May approaches rates will probably get higher but it is far too early to predict just how high they will go. “There are always shortages in the summer and the rates will go higher, but at this point I can’t tell you how high they will go.”

Dichter reviewed some potential impacts and didn’t note any overly alarming situations. Fuel rates have been steady or dropping for the past several months and the forecast is for rate stability throughout 2014. There have also been worries that as the economy heats up, there will be a shortage of drivers as the transportation and construction industries pull from the same labor market. “When supplies are heavy there is a shortage of trucks, but I can’t say that’s because of the economy getting better. Maybe, but it happens every year.”

He did say that the new hours of service for drivers that went into effect in July of 2013 have had an impact, especially on loads originating on the West Coast on Wednesdays. “It used to be that you could load on Wednesday and get into the Bronx (Hunts Point) on Sunday morning pretty easily. That’s no longer the case unless you have team driving.”

Dichter said solo drivers loading on Wednesday can’t get into the Bronx until Sunday night, which doesn’t fit the needs of some operations. Consequently on Wednesdays everyone wants a truck driven by a team, which puts a premium on that haul. “If everyone wants a team situation and only half the trucks are driven by teams, you can see the problem.”

But Dichter said another shortage-causing situation — California’s stricter emission standards — no longer appears to be causing a problem. He said truckers have either adapted their engines and refrigeration units to comply with California law or they avoid the state. Initially, truckers were either reluctant to comply or didn’t know the regulations. But newer trucks are basically in compliance by their nature and older trucks have either already been retrofitted or they are working other corridors.

Paul Kazan, founder of the Bronx, NY-based Target Interstate Systems Inc., and the head of its produce division, said the new hours of service have “absolutely” had an impact on produce transportation. He believes the government-mandated shorter service hours were designed to make trucks a bit less attractive in comparison to railroads. He believes the government is trying to move more freight via the rails and these service hours close the gap on arrival times for some commodities in some markets. While Kazan believes that the vast majority of fresh produce will continue to be hauled over the road, he said the railroads can now make a case for some of the hardier items, with only one day difference in service.

He said shippers and receivers aren’t always aware of the impact delays have on a truckers ability to drive. “If he is waiting at the dock for a couple of hours to load, that counts as service time. And the same thing happens at the other end if he has to wait to unload.”

In principle, Kazan agrees that for highway safety you don’t want a driver on the road for an extended period of time without rest. But he argues that the rules are black and white and don’t take in some of the nuances of hauling freight across country. For example, sitting in your cab resting while you are waiting to load isn’t the same as driving on the open road, yet it can be treated the same.

Both Kazans said they are expecting normal transportation shortages this summer but nothing out of the ordinary. Paul said the improved economy has created more shipments of all types of products which means there will be times when trucks are tight and thus they will cost more. But he does believe fuel rates will remain steady throughout 2014 and may even drop.

Evan said there probably will be a shortage of drivers this summer as there seems to be every summer. He does not necessarily believe the stronger economy will create that situation as he said the driver shortage occurred even during the height of the most recent recession. Paul Kazan said driving a truck cross country is a difficult job that requires many hours away from the family, and so there are always truckers coming in and out of the business as their individual situations dictate. “Turnover among drivers has always been very high and I’m sure that will continue,” he said.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

California’s regulatory burden falls on shoulders of transportation provider

Over the last several years, California has continually enacted stricter emission standards for trucks in an effort to have cleaner air in the state.

The California Air Resource Board first levied fines on truckers who were not in compliance with the emission regulations on their transportation refrigeration units, and since January the regulations also target the provider of the transportation, regardless of whether that provider is located in California. If the truck goes through the state and you are paying for the load, you must take due diligence steps to assure that the truck hauling your freight is in compliance with the rules.

The state has all of this information on its website (www.arb.ca.gov) but in a nutshell, Ken Gilliland, director of transportation for California-based Western Growers Association, said brokers and receivers are responsible if they secure the transportation. A spokesman for ARB, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to grant interviews, said so far most receivers are following the letter of the law, although one case is pending.

TruckA truck entering the Los Angeles Produce Market. Over the last several years, California has continually enacted stricter emission standards for trucks in an effort to have cleaner air in the state.California does have reciprocity agreements with virtually every other state in the country so it does have the ability to levy and collect fines if a firm is violating California laws.

On its website, ARB spells out the basic requirements for everyone involved in transporting product, including brokers, freight forwarders, shippers, receivers, motor carriers, and their drivers. The guidelines are basically the same for each.

Whatever party “arranges, hires, contracts for or dispatches reefer-equipped trucks, tractor-trailers, shipping containers or railcars for the transport of perishable goods on California highways or railways” must require the carriers it hires to use only trucks and trailers equipped with TRUs that comply with the ARB’s performance standards. The carrier must also have been provided contact information for the provider of the truck so that “drivers can present it to authorized enforcement personnel upon request.”

The ARB’s TRU regulation does not require brokers, forwarders, shippers or receivers to inspect TRUs to determine compliance or turn away noncompliant TRUs at docks. However, the ARB website says, “freight brokers, freight forwarders, shippers and receivers must take steps to comply with the applicable requirements.”

This means they must do some type of due diligence if they are to avoid a fine. Trucks based in California must utilize ARB’s online TRU registration system, so it is easy for a provider of transportation to determine if a California-based truck is in compliance. It is a bit trickier for trucks not based in California. Those may voluntarily register with ARB but they do not have to.

ARB recommends that businesses covered by this regulation “should consider sending notices to carriers, making them aware that the broker, forwarder, shipper or receiver requires all of the refrigerated carriers they hire to comply with the in-use performance standards.” ARB said that notice could require carriers or the dispatching entity to certify “that they will only dispatch reefers that comply with the in-use standards.” Additionally ARB said businesses could determine that they will only do business with trucks that are registered with ARB.

These are actions that will apparently mitigate any fine that is contemplated by ARB when it finds a truck that is not in compliance. And the board is looking for them. Enforcement officers recently set up at a Salinas, CA, loading dock and inspected every truck that came into the premises to pick up a load. There have also been enforcement actions in Los Angeles, Fresno and Santa Maria.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Transportation situation eases as summer moves on

In late May the crush for transportation to fill Memorial Day orders was at a fever pitch. That proved to be a harbinger of things to come as June and July saw a very tight transportation situation.

In fact, recently Chuck Thomas of Thomas Produce Sales in Nogales, AZ, told The Produce News, “In May and June, I saw some rates I’d never seen before. Trucks were getting from $ 8,500 to $ 8,800 to go to the East Coast from Nogales. I heard of some $ 10,000 rates from Salinas to Boston and New England. It was unbelievable.”

Robert Goldstein, president and owner of Genpro Inc. in Rutherford, NJ, confirmed that the transportation demand-supply curve was very strong in the early part of the summer, but he said rates have eased somewhat, though they are still strong. He indicated that hours-of-service regulations have added to the typical strong demand situation that occurs every summer. Tighter regulations have made it more difficult for solo drivers to make the cross-country trip in less than six days. Consequently there is a premium for trucks with team drivers that Goldstein said can get from the West Coast to the East Coast in 60 to 72 hours, if all goes well.

“Good capacity is at a premium, and that is always in short supply,” he said.

He said it is often a situation of truckers having to “hurry up and wait to get loaded and then hurry up and wait to get unloaded.”

Lance Ditcher, president of LD Logistics in the Bronx, NY, agreed that the hours-of-service regulations are taking their toll. “It is now very difficult for a Wednesday pickup (out West) to make a Sunday delivery (on the East Coast). Travel times have changed a bit.”

Ditcher said it is also a case of simple inflation. “Every year rates seem to get a little bit higher,” he said. “And this year the situation was definitely tighter in June and July.”

Adding to the situation is stricter California emission laws that have some trucks avoiding the Golden State. “That absolutely happens,” said Ditcher. “If California is going to make it tougher and you might get a ticket, some drivers want to go someplace else.”

Goldstein has noted the same situation. But he said some of those firms that reallocated their assets away from California because of the stricter regulations are now coming back since they have had a turnover in equipment and their new equipment is in compliance with those rules. “California has tougher laws, but it also has some desirable freight at the premium rates,” he said.

Moving forward both Ditcher and Goldstein expect a fairly stable supply-and-demand situation with regard to transportation as summer ends and fall begins. The heavy fruit production from California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin to wane as the days become shorter and the demand for equipment should ease a bit. But neither transportation expert expects a complete reversal of the current situation.

“Rates are still holding pretty well and I think good capacity is going to continue to get a premium,” said Goldstein.

“Moving forward, I think we are going to stay pretty close to where we are right now,” said Ditcher. “Rates (for cross-country refrigerated hauls) are in the $ 6,000 to $ 7,000 range, and I think they should stay in that range through September and October.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines